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Photo: Gilles Vezina

Under Petals of Steel brings emotion, sweeping movement to the dance stage—06.07.19 & 06.08.19

By Leah Geller on June 5, 2019

When I ask the Artistic Director of Ottawa Dance Directive, Yvonne Coutts, what audiences can expect when they see Under Petals of Steel this weekend, her answer is unequivocal.

“Incredible physicality, athleticism and dance technique within a profound theatricality.”

In the making for close to two years, Under Petals of Steel is about the social and economic disparities of modern society, and how that creates tension within and between people. It addresses the internal conflict we often feel when we experience beautiful personal moments, all the while knowing that atrocities are being committed elsewhere in the world.

Photo: Gilles Vezina

“One moment they’re in the air, the next they’re on the ground and wrapped in each other’s arms.”

“You really feel that intensity,” explains Coutts. “It’s very physically charged, but also extremely poetic. One moment they’re in the air, the next they’re on the ground and wrapped in each other’s arms.”

The one-hour dance piece was created by Sylvie Desrosiers, an award-winning choreographer based in Gatineau. She’s been recognized for her artistic talent by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and was recently the recipient of the Ottawa Arts Council’s Victor Tolgesy Award. Her work has been presented across the country, and includes a duet set on contemporary dance superstars Marc Boivin and Heidi Strauss.

Under Petals of Steel features the talents of five dancers—four women and one man—all of whom are either based in the region or trained here.

Photo: Gilles Vezina

“Our community is so well-represented in this performance.”

The soundtrack is by local multi-instrumentalist Olivier Fairfield (FET.NAT, Andy Shauf, Timber Timbre). He regularly creates for theatre and dance, combining avant-garde contemporary sounds with techno and other genres. Olivier has toured around the world and has been a studio musician for more than 100 records, nationally and internationally.

Lighting is by Paul Auclair, also from the region, who has worked in lighting design for dance for years, including for former Ottawa-based contemporary dance company Le Groupe Danse Lab.

“Our community is so well-represented in this performance,” adds Coutts. “Sylvie has such command of her craft, such a personal, unique voice, and the collaborators are so strong. I encourage everyone to come out and support her work.”


Under Petals of Steel is presented by Ottawa Dance Directive and is part of Series Danse 10, founded by Lana Morton. Performances take place Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 at 7:30pm at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students, available here.